the circus

The Circus

Flash Fiction

We’re standing facing one another, each equipped with various objects, ready to play our game. 

A whistle is blown and we’re off: we throw them in the air with ease, at first. The crowd is cheering proudly and we puff our chests in response.

He fumbles an object and the crowd groans accordingly, but his fumble causes me to miss and the crowd erupts in laughter: I’ve dropped all the objects now, but the clatter works to my advantage. Wild-eyed and distracted, he tries to keep the rhythm, but they’ve all gone wonky and he can’t keep the objects balanced. He’s losing them all now and I stare in horror as they all come tumbling down upon him. 

Him and they clatter to the ground, soiled and disgraced.

In the confusion, I offer a hand, but his stare suggests he can’t register a response.

Howling with laughter, the crowd cripples his once proud gait. He jolts to this feet and, with bowed shoulders, darts from the circus’ center.

Cheering and whooping and whistling, the crowd’s elation fills the air. I look around to them all, but cannot bring myself to bow. 

Dear Sirs and Ma’ams, have I won?